Choose a topic from Part 2B:

95. Divinations

1. Divination is an effort to know the future by usingsuperstitious means. It attributes to creatures the power ofknowing, or disclosing the future absolutely, whereas this powerbelongs to God alone. Therefore, divination is always a sin.

2. Divination often takes the form (indeed, this is usual)of an appeal to demons or devils for knowledge of the future, orfor knowledge of what one should do now to achieve good or avoidtrouble in time to come.

3. There are three major classes of divinations: directinvoking of demons; reading auguries; using other means of readingthe future (dreams, necromancy or pretended apparitions, utterancesof the dead, etc.).

4. The invoking of demons is unlawful, for it (a) involvesan implicit pact with an evil spirit; (b) results in what isprejudicial to man's salvation.

5. Divination by the stars is a vain practice, forman's future is not determined by heavenly bodies. Besides,this is a practice into which evil spirits readily enter to findgullible victims for further bad influencing. Hence, divination bythe stars is sinful.

6. Divination by dreams is also unlawful. God can indeedmake useof dreams and turn them into revealing visions. Butunless God make manifest the character of a dream as a revelation,it is wrong to attach to the dream a prophetic value. Of course, aman may know that when he has dreams of a certain type, he istaking cold, or some such matter. This is not divination orsuperstition. Only when dreams are accepted as things preternaturaland prophetic are they a variety of superstition, that is, ofdivination.

7. Auguries, omens, use of external superstitiouspractices as means of getting knowledge or guidance, are all formsof divination, and share its foolish and sinful character. The evilof using such things is in the assumption that the futuredepends on them. To read the natural signs of causes nowin operation is not superstitious. Thus, to predict themorrow's weather from the clouds, or currents of air, or fromthe cry of birds, is not divination.

8. To draw lots in the sharing of goods, or in determiningthe winner of a prize, is not divination. But to draw lots todetermine what course of action to pursue, with the assumption thatfated necessity rules lives, and that somehow the chance selectionof a card or the drawing of a straw will indicate what one is fatedto enjoy or endure, is divination, and, in consequence, is foolish,unreasonable, and sinful.

"When the devil has failed in making a man fall, he puts forward all his energies to create distrust between the penitent and the confessor, and so by little and little he gains his end at last."
St Philip Neri

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"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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